Derived from the Latin “vestigium”, Vestige encapsulates the trace, mark, or footprint left behind.
“Join us and let’s leave our own mark by celebrating under the moonlight as we unveil Vestige: you might discover your own empowering amulet amongst these captivating vestiges!”
From selecting the location to taking care of each step in managing the event, Master of Fine Arts student Agnes Kolignan showed the language she chose to express her vision and art, working on her jewelry exhibition as a final step of the creative journey.
“With this collection, I desired to create a series of jewelry pieces that evoke amulets, empowering both the maker and the wearer or beholder, enchanting and offering protection”, shared Agnes. “The title ‘Vestige’ encompasses the concept that infuses this collection with layers of meaning much like the diverse materials sourced in order to manifest them.
The pieces serve as such vestiges that capture the relentless passage of time, the primal power of Eros, the communion between the past and the present, and the juxtaposition of culture and reverence for history versus the tribal and the archetypal. Ultimately, these pieces are the vestiges of personal and artistic evolution and an acknowledgment of the perpetual cycle of creation and recreation.”
Hi Agnes, Congratulations on your first solo exhibition! Can you tell us a bit about the theme or concept behind your collection?
One of the starting points for the collection was an image of a Victorian comb. I began with a series of sketches, which I then developed into three-dimensional paper prototypes that naturally evolved into metal, hybrid-like shapes evocative of flowers or insects. These forms became the backbone of the collection. The title of the collection is Vestige, which means a trace, a mark, a footprint. The pieces serve as such: vestiges that capture the relentless passage of time, the primal power of Eros, the communion between the past and the present, and the juxtaposition of culture and reverence for history versus the tribal and the archetypal. With this collection I desired to create amulet-like pieces, empowering both the maker and the wearer.
What motivated you to pursue a biennial Master’s degree in Fine Arts with a focus on jewellery design? How has this program influenced your work?
I developed a keen interest in jewelry over ten years ago while working as a print designer in Paris. My journey began with learning about the craft through wax sculpture classes at Haute École de Joaillerie in Paris, where I created my first collection. In 2017, I moved to Lisbon and enrolled in a jewellery-making course at Ar.Co. In 2021, amidst the pandemic, I came to Florence for a spring exchange at Alchimia. I loved it so much that I decided to indulge in a two-year-long study and enrolled in their Master’s program. I’ve always had a deep admiration for Florence and its celebrated craftsmen and goldsmiths. Encouraged by tutors, I stepped out of my comfort zone, allowing myself the freedom to experiment without worrying about commercial constraints. The studio at Alchimia was the most beautiful and well-equipped I’ve ever had access to, providing the perfect environment for creativity to thrive. Meeting numerous talented and driven jewelry makers was truly inspiring.
Can you describe your creative process when designing your jewelry pieces? Do you have any particular sources of inspiration?
My creative process revolves around tapping into the intuitive and allowing myself to let go and have fun, avoiding fixation on the final result. Having said that my work is grounded in thorough research, including gallery and museum visits, nature walks, sketching, listening to music, reading books, and delving into history and culture. I find comfort in working on a series of objects; I consider myself a storyteller.
Were there any specific artists, designers, or mentors who have had a significant influence on your work and artistic development?
There are many influential figures in various fields that impacted my artistic development. However, for this collection, I want to highlight the influence of my mentor, Evert Nijland, who guided me through the process during the second year of my studies. Having someone with artistic affinities like him was crucial. Additionally, Rick Owens has been a constant inspiration for me and it’s interesting to note that his A/W 2023 menswear collection, inspired by the Victorian era coincided with a major theme in my Master collection. I like to believe that the shapes I’ve created bear some resemblance to his majestic silhouettes. The late Alexander McQueen has also played a pivotal role in shaping my aesthetic.
What advice would you give to aspiring jewelry designers or students who are considering pursuing a Master’s degree in Fine Arts?
I’ve been working in the creative industry, specifically fashion, for about twenty years now. It’s a field that requires many sacrifices and is not the easiest route to choose in life. Creative industries are facing many challenges right now. I think it’s important to have more than one arrow to your bow but if you’re talented and passionate about something you’ll find the way to make it work.
Do you have any future plans or projects you’d like to share with us after your successful solo exhibition?
I’m eager to fully immerse myself in the jewelry universe. My hope is that this Master collection will pave the way for a successful jewelry practice.
Thanks for answering our questions, Agnes! You can follow and support her work here @agneskolignan